My uncle Bob, for reasons known only to himself, embarked on an audio editing project of no earthly use to anyone. As he describes it:
Each time I listen to National Public Radio, I notice extensive blocks of air time cluttered with what I call “non-nutritive filler” – meaningless mutterings such as “you know” or “to be perfectly honest with you.” I decided to record 30 consecutive minutes of NPR completely at random, edit so that only the filler is left, and give a listen. I assure you that none of the attached sound clips was taken out of sequence or looped in any way.
Here’s the resulting two-minute audio clip for your edification. Stick with it past 60 seconds if you can… It gets positively poetic.
In addition to thinking that this would make a swell alternative music piece if set to the proper instrumental accompaniment, I think it is useful as a reminder for public speakers. As much as you would like people to concentrate purely on your content and message, they can’t help but notice your delivery style. In fact, they notice the things you don’t… The filler sounds your brain has learned to filter out of its own audio recognition and processing.
I sometimes “clean up” recordings of live webinars for my clients. I chew through the digital recording in increments of as little as four-tenths of a second, cutting out all those things you heard in the NPR clip. I also like to take out breath sounds and replace them with background noise of the same length (A trick taught to me by an old-school audio engineer back in the days when they would do it with a razor blade, audio tape, and a splicing machine). I then balance the audio levels, remove hiss and background noise, and resynchronize the audio with the video content. When I’m done, the result is -– entirely unremarkable. A typical presenter upon listening to the recording says: “Yes, you captured it just fine. Sounds just like the live event. Thank goodness you didn’t have to do much.” Except they don’t notice that the edited recording is ten minutes shorter than the original.
If you can’t afford the time and effort needed to make your recordings sound more professional, maybe you should start at the source. Work on cleaning up your own speaking technique. It takes time, dedication, and serious practice to break the vocalization habits of a lifetime. But if you truly care, you can do it. If you are interested, I can help.